Thursday, October 09, 2008

French Writer Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Never heard of this guy, but congratulations nonetheless.

October 9, 2008

French Writer Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

The 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded this morning to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, a French writer whose more than 40 books deal with topics as varied as environmentalism, the impact of globalization, and the clash between European and non-Western cultures.

In announcing the award, the Swedish Academy described him as an “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.”

Mr. Le Clézio, who is the first Frenchman to win the prize in 23 years, will receive the award, worth about $1.4-million this year, at a ceremony in December.

His early work, influenced by existentialism and other popular postwar literary currents, was often experimental. In recent years, Mr. Le Clézio has turned to more personal themes in his writing, including his childhood, his father, and his family history. His work has also drawn from his lifelong wanderlust. He was born in Nice, but lived as a child in Nigeria and studied at Britain’s University of Bristol before earning a series of degrees at French universities.

The Nobel citation says that he has taught at universities in Albuquerque, Austin, Bangkok, Boston, and Mexico City, although it does not specify which institutions.

Mr. Le Clézio is probably best known for two prize-winning books: his first novel, Le Procès-Verbal (The Deposition), published in 1963, and Désert, published in 1980. Many of his books are available in English translation, including several published by university presses: The Mexican Dream, or, the Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations (University of Chicago Press, 1993), Onitsha (University of Nebraska Press, 1997), and The Round & Other Cold Hard Facts (Nebraska, 1997). —Andrew Mytelka

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